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Carolina Mudcats fall short in extras against Myrtle Beach, 6-4

Carolina Mudcats fall short in extras against Myrtle Beach, 6-4
Photo credt: Tony Lastoria/IBI
June 23, 2014
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ZEBULON, N.C. – After failing to capitalize with the winning run on third and just one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Carolina Mudcats fell, 6-4, to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Monday in 10 innings.

The Pelicans rallied with two outs in the top of the 10th to score a pair of runs for their first lead of the game.

D.J. Brown retired Jorge Alfaro and Nick Vickerson to open the extra frame before walking David Lyon. The game appeared to be headed to the bottom of the inning after Chris Grayson’s grounder to short, but an Erik Gonzalez error kept the inning alive.

Christopher Bostick immediately made Carolina pay as he followed with a single to left off new pitcher Grant Sides scoring Lyon as the Pelicans went up, 5-4. Myrtle Beach quickly doubled its lead as Kevin Torres followed with his own RBI single to left.

Responsible for the runs in the tenth, Brown (2-5, 3.99 ERA) took the loss despite a decent effort. He went 5.2 innings giving up four runs, two of which were earned, on only three hits. He walked four and struck out three. 

Despite the unfortunate result, Manager Scooter Tucker said he was pleased with the effort from his 6-foot, 6-inch righty.

“He pitched well tonight, he used all his pitches and did everything we asked him to do,” Tucker said.

But Brown refused to make excuses, instead wishing he had found a way to do more.

“I just tried my best to give us a chance to win,” Broan said. “I wish it could have went the other way, but I have to own up to it, I shouldn’t have let them score.”

Myrtle Beach’s late rally to steal the game spoiled a good start from the Mudcats offense.

Carolina leadoff man LeVon Washington sparked an early rally starting the bottom of the first with a double down the left field line. Washington then advanced to third on a wild pitch from Myrtle Beach southpaw Luis Parra. Parra almost escaped the inning unscathed, retiring Todd Hankins and Gonzalez, but the Mudcats struck with two outs. 

Yandy Diaz walked to put men on the corners before Joe Sever put Carolina ahead with a single to right scoring Washington. Jeremy Lucas then followed with an RBI base hit of his own scoring Diaz as Carolina jumped ahead, 2-0.

But the Pelicans quickly cut Carolina’s advantage in half in the top of the second as Mudcats starter Michael Peoplesstruggled to find his command. After getting two quick outs, Peoples gave up a single to Bostick. Bostick quickly moved all the way to third after a pair of wild pitches to the next Myrtle Beach hitter, Kevin Torres. Torres then took advantage of Peoples’ miscues with an RBI single to left making it 2-1.

Myrtle Beach again put Peoples in a jam in the fourth. Vickerson earned a leadoff walk before David Lyon singled to right putting Pelicans on the corners with nobody out. Chris Grayson then tied the game at 2 with a sacrifice fly to deep center. The next batter, Bostick, put men back on the corners with a base hit to centerfield before advancing to second on another Peoples wild pitch. However, Peoples recovered forcing Torres to ground back to the mound and Chris Garia to fly to left as Myrtle Beach left the go-ahead run on third.

Peoples earned no decision in his four-inning start. The right-hander was dinged for two earned runs on five hits while striking out four and issuing a pair of walks.

The Mudcats then turned to D.J. Brown, who started over Peoples in the duo’s last outing in their piggyback rotation.

Myrtle Beach’s starter also posted a short outing as Parra was pulled after allowing two earned runs on four hits in 3.2 innings of work. The lanky lefty also took a no decision striking out two and walking one. 

Carolina surged back ahead in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a leadoff home run from Luigi Rodriguez that towered over the short fence in right giving the Mudcats a 3-2 advantage. 

The Mudcats added another run in the sixth off Pelicans reliever Jason Knapp. With Sever in scoring position after reaching on a fielder’s choice and stealing second, Lucas singled to right as Carolina went up 4-2.

However, the Pelicans offense again answered by erasing Carolina’s lead in the top of the seventh. Brown walked Torres to open the inning before Garia put a good bunt down the third base line. A charging Diaz attempted to make the play at first, but his errant throw sailed into right putting men on second and third. Brown got Alberto to pop up for out number one, but walked Preston Beck next to load the bases.

Brown then nearly got the double-play ball from Jorge Alfaro that would have gotten Carolina out of the inning still ahead, but Alfaro narrowly beat out Gonzalez’s throw to foil the Mudcats attempt for a four-six-three double play and draw within a run. Vickerson then followed with a bloop single to center scoring Garia to make it 4-4.

The Mudcats appeared to be on their way to a walk off win after Rodriguez tripled with only one out. Pelicans relieverJose Leclerc then intentionally walked the red-hot Washington to create the opportunity for a double-play before Hankins also walked to load the bases. However, the Mudcats couldn’t even get the ball in play as Leclerc struck out Gonzalez and Diaz to send the game into the ultimately decisive tenth.

“We just didn’t get it done when we needed to, that’s really all you can say,” Tucker responded when asked about the frustration of not getting the wining run across in the ninth.

Jose Leclerc (4-1, 2.27) got the win for Myrtle Beach with 2.0 innings of scoreless relief before Alex Claudio closed the door in the bottom of the tenth for his fourth save. 

Carolina now sits at 2-4 in extra-inning contests in 2014, while dropping to 3-2 in the second half and 32-40 overall.

The Mudcats and Pelicans are set to have a quick turnaround before Tuesday’s rubber-match at Five County Stadium with first pitch set for 11 a.m. 

Right-hander Colse Sulser is scheduled to start for Carolina as Myrtle Beach is scheduled to counter with lefty Chad Bell.

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